Genetic engineering has become popular in the 21st century. Researchers and scientists have made it possible for the human race to witness amazing creations that have only been possible through the use of this technology. Genetic engineering is used to make any living organism change its expressed characteristics by incorporating changes in its genome or genetic make-up. The more commonly known examples of genetic engineering will be discussed in this section.
In earlier years, the field of drugs and medicine had not yet fully grown to its maximum potential. People used to die of diseases we now consider curable. Prognosis of terminal and serious ailments such as congenital diseases has improved because there are drugs that have been engineered to treat these disorders. Engineered medicines include vaccines, vitamins, and many antibiotics (Herring, 2006). For example, genetic engineering makes it possible to take a gene from a species of plant that produces Vitamin A and introduce it to another plant that produces Vitamin B. Through this, scientists are able to produce a new hybrid of plants that have more vitamin properties than just a single sample of both.
As we know, plants and other crops are vulnerable to natural disasters such as typhoons or infestations of pests. Because of this, our sources of foods become easily destroyed, which could lead to a scarcity of supply, and consequently, a hike in the prices of our basic commodities occur. In response to this growing need, plants were engineered to become more resistant to these disasters. An example of this is a fighting corn plant in which the plant does not allow corn borers to destroy or eat the plant (Miller & Spoolman, 2008). This idea was conceived when a certain type of bacterium sprayed in the plants allowed it to emit toxins to kill pests that will try to eat. Thus, scientists took the pest-killing gene from the bacterium and transferred it to the corn plant. And there you have it – a freshly harvested, pest-free sweet corn.
A more controversial example of genetic engineering is what we call “designer babies” (Potter, Hanin, & Madsen, 2005). Basic literature tells us that the gene consists of DNA that contains information about our physical characteristics, temperaments, and other important traits that could define us as a person (Herring, 2006). Thus, employing the principles and practices of genetic engineering could lead us to introduce genes that will create a baby that has all the qualities the parents choose for their child. On a heavier note, designer babies sparked controversy, and several sensational articles have been written about this, which we will not dig deeply into in this article. The point is that genetic engineering makes it possible for us to witness this creation, regardless of the reasons parents are resorting to this technology to conceive a baby.
The fruits of genetic engineering are evident around the world. This shows how powerful this technology is and proves how a single change in the gene of an organism could lead to a creation that holds great power. With the current active use and wide coverage of genetic engineering, we can predict that this technology will continue to give us newer innovations and creations that hopefully will become very useful for mankind without sacrificing our safety.
Herring, M. Y. (2006). Genetic engineering: Historical guides to controversial issues in America. CT: Greenwood Publishing Group
Miller, G. T. & Spoolman, S. (2008). Living in the environment: Principles, Connections, and Solutions. CA: Cengage Learning
Potter, D. A., Hanin, J. S., & Madsen, P. (2005). What to do when you can’t get pregnant: The complete guide to all the technologies for couples facing fertility problems. NY: De Capo Press